Your attention, please.
If I get killed in an auto accident on the highway or a horse wreck on a road someplace, please don’t put up one of those wooden crosses in memory of me. I drive past several of these in my travels to and from town, and I have to tell you, they are starting to give me the creeps. They all started out pretty enough – white, standing up straight and respectfully, bedecked with flowers, but it doesn’t take long for them to start leaning drunkenly to one side. The flowers fade or blow away and the paint chips off leaving the wood exposed to the elements to turn grey and sad-looking.
This being the small community that it is, I knew most of the people who died in each of those places and their families have my deepest sympathy, but the wooden crosses only remind me of the sad circumstances of their deaths and I’d rather have reasons to remember the person’s life instead.
With that in mind, when I die, please don’t memorialize my death. If you want to give to a memorial for me, do one of my favorite things:
Go make a memory with your kids or grandkids and take lots of pictures of them.
Call in sick to work and go horseback riding. (You can borrow Bubba & Lucy if they outlive me.)
If my fabric stash survives me, take it home and make a quilt.
Try a new recipe – something elegant from a Martha Stewart book. Or get my Dutch oven and cook a pot of stew over a campfire.
Write something for your blog. If you don’t have a blog, start one.
Go camping for a weekend.
Go to the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha.
Do something you’ve been putting off for a long time, like have coffee (or tea) with an old friend. Or clean out a long neglected closet – it will make you feel better.
Call someone who has moved away and talk to them for no less than one hour.
Write a handwritten letter to each one of your children and grandchildren and tell them how much each one of them means to you and be sure to include the thing you love about them the most.
If you don’t have children, write the above letter to your parents and/or grandparents.
Go to church the following Sunday and sing the hymns as loudly as you can. In 4 parts if you can read music.
Read the Bible from cover to cover (you can have a whole year to get this done.)
Go shopping for something unnecessarily beautiful at Victoria’s Secret with your daughter. If you don’t have a daughter, you can borrow Emily.
Sit quietly by a window in the pre-dawn darkness and watch the sun come up.
Get some new cowboy boots and a hat.
Sit in the window of a hay mow and watch a thunderstorm.
Write a poem.
Re-read your favorite book.
Have a snifter of brandy with supper.
Go to a Toastmasters meeting and join.
The next time you think of berating yourself for something, replace that thought with this one: “Janell loved me.”
Open a door for an elderly person.
See if you can get a baby in the grocery store to laugh.
Go to the Arlington Country Market at noon on a Friday and have the pan-fried chicken special.
Listen to the radio instead of watching tv for a week.
Sit quietly by a window and watch the sun go down.
Whatever you do, please remember my life and not my death.
I love you all.